Summary: A rogue Manslayer from the Revolution is on the loose systematically killing officials of the new Meiji government. The police come to Kenshin and ask for his help as all efforts to apprehend and/or slay this criminal have ended in failure. Although the residents and friends of the Kamiya Dojo: Kaoru, Yahiko, and Sanousuke, are thoroughly against it Kenshin agrees to help the government once more.
My Thoughts: So the Meiji government can’t handle or escape their past can they? That sounds familiar. Luckily for them, they’ve undercovered the whereabouts of their former ally - Battousai the Manslayer. I really feel for Kenshin in this episode and empathize with Sanousuke’s anger towards the government. The former Imperialists are using Kenshin to clean up their dirty work as they've always done; nothing has changed. It’s no wonder that Kenshin kept wandering for over ten years. Since he started setting down roots in Tokyo it’s been a constant life of battle for him. I wonder if this sort of thing happened often during his rurouni period; somehow I imagine not. Otherwise the Meiji government would have found him sooner if Kenshin Himura - an unusually gifted and helpful swordsman with a cross-shaped scar on his cheek had begun to make a name for himself among the poor and distressed. But being too noble for his own good our Meiji-Era Ned Stark agrees to assist the police.
It becomes even harder to muster any sympathy for the government once we meet the official whom the police are protecting. He is your typical short, fat slime-ball willing to throw down any amount of money in order to save his sorry skin regardless of the cost of human life. It’s pretty obvious that he’s a corrupt official. I assume that is government money that he’s using to hire the roomful of muscle that he’s gathered to protect him. It makes you wonder if all of the other officials killed by the rogue Manslayer were equally as loathsome. Maybe we ought to be cheering for the assasin?
Oh second thought…maybe not. He seems pretty evil. And scary. Yeah that smile is the thing of nightmares.
When the mysterious assassin arrives on the scene he makes short work of the police and paralyzes the room of armed guards through a hypnotic attack emanating from his eyes.Sanousuke is caught in the assasin’s spell, but Kenshin’s will is too strong to be overcome by such simple mind tricks. (He would have made such a bad-ass Jedi. Just sayin') The two fighters of the Revolution face-off and of course...Kenshin is recognized instantly as Battousai the Manslayer.
The assassin is a former member of the Shinsengumi called Jin-e Udo or Kurogasa " the Black Hat". The Shinsengumi were a unit of the Shogun’s forces that opposed the Ishin-shishi and Choshu factions in Kyoto and they were Kenshin’s greatest rivals. However, Jin-e was cast out of the Shinsengumi for his brutality and honorless love for blood and murder. Kenshin and Jin-e never fought each other during the Revolution, but Jin-e is thrilled to finally be able to cross blades with the Battousai and prove himself to be the strongest. Only it’s quite clear to Jin-e after exchanging blows with the Sakabatou that Kenshin has grown soft. Jin-e calls a time-out to the battle and announces that he’s sparing the official only because his new target is the Battousai. He makes it pretty clear, however, that he wants to fight the Battousai and not Kenshin Himura before withdrawing, leaving Kenshin with a heavy decision to make. It's a lose-lose situation. Kenshin is not sure that he can win against Jin-e as Kenshin Himura. He could renounce his vows and let go of his restraint - in a sense killing the man that he has become or die honorably in the duel thus leaving Jin-e free to poison the new era. However, no matter the outcome it's a safe bet that Kenshin is likely to start wandering again as settling down is proving to be far too dangerous.
That dummkopf*, Kenshin, sends a message back to the Kamiya Dojo stating that he will not be returning home right away. This way he can focus on the fight so they should all just wait for him. I think he's known Kaoru and Yahiko long enough to know what's likely to happen, but sometimes Kenshin can be far too trusting.
The episode ends with Kenshin alone at the riverside screaming with unrestrained anger at Jin-e. Oh boy! Shit's about to get real! Will we finally get to see Battousai the Manslayer?
Best Line: "She's scarier than Jin-e, she is!" ~ Kenshin
*Apologies for the german. I have been reading Scott Westerfeld's Behemoth of late and this is my new favorite word. Translation: dolt